$220.00 – $1,200.00
It’s autumn, the best season for mushroom pickers. And mushrooms – specifically magic ones – are in the spotlight. A growing body of research is showing that psilocybin, the main psychoactive compound in magic mushrooms, has potential in treating psychological disorders like depression, addiction and PTSD. The state of Oregon just voted to legalise the mushrooms for therapeutic use – a US first.
Of the nearly 200 species of psychedelic mushrooms that have been identified worldwide, only one – Psilocybe semilanceata – grows in any abundance in northern Europe. Like many mushrooms, Psilocybe semilanceata is generally known not by its scientific designation, but by its common or folk name, the “liberty cap” mushroom.
For years, this bothered me. As a Roman historian, I know the liberty cap (the pileus, in Latin) as a hat given to a Roman slave on the occasion of their being freed. It was a conical felt cap, shaped like that of a smurf, and which undeniably bears a clear resemblance to Psilocybe semilanceata’s distinctive pointy cap.
But how on earth did an obscure Roman social practice end up lending its name to a modern psychedelic? As I soon discovered, the answer takes us through an assassination, a number of revolutions, a bit of poetry, a dash of xenophobia, and a very unusual scientific discovery.
1 OZ, 1/4 Pound, 1/2 Pound, 1 Pound